What’s it like to be a Royster Lawton Fellow?
Ask Lucy Krasker, who worked at the JUMP Investors in Los Angeles, California.
This summer I worked at JUMP Investors in Los Angeles, California. The founder and Chief Executive Officer of the venture capital firm, Randall Kaplan, is a co-founder of the innovative Akamai Technologies and was an early stage investor in Google and Lyft. He consistently finds value in supporting the growth of firms disrupting technology industries, and as a lifetime entrepreneur, continues to develop lifestyle brands and concepts. As an entrepreneur and venture capitalist simultaneously, he has advised over 50 startups in their development and financing. His strategic vision is instrumental in these companies’ success and growth, and I was fortunate to gain insight on business decisions. Kaplan taught me that investing in a company financially is often not enough. If you want to see a real and meaningful return on an investment, it is crucial to advise the company’s executive management over time. His hands-on investment strategy also emphasized a key takeaway: any enterprise is a social enterprise if the firm sees business as a tool to build community value.
As a Venture Capital Intern, I studied the investment techniques and strategies of my boss. On a first-name basis since the first day, he emphasized the importance of mentorship. He gave valuable and sage advice during daily discussions of investment decisions, the pillars of entrepreneurship, how to best channel the entrepreneurial spirit, and career advice. He is a strong supporter of his interns’ ambitions. I worked with a group of 30 other college students from schools across the country, all pursing degrees in Business, Economics, Commerce, Marketing, Computer Science, and Data Analytics. My co-workers truly became some of my best friends, and we build a supportive network within the office. We completed assigned projects in deal teams and collaborated to deliver the best quality product as efficiently as possible. We were under the guidance of Ricky Horwitz, a stellar associate at JUMP. He became a mentor to everyone in the office and oversaw our personal research projects, which were catered to our individualized interests. It’s through these projects that I learned the beginning steps of due diligence and market research. I performed due diligence on a number of companies within the cryptocurrency and environmental sustainability spaces. Kaplan has high expectations for all of his employees, and he held interns to standards that improved our business writing, fine-tuned our business communication via email, and grew our networking skills. My daily duties focused mostly on Sandee, one of JUMP’s portfolio companies. I explored different marketing and information technology strategies for brand development. I became a search engine optimization (SEO) expert and fine-tuned pertinent data analytics and aggregation strategies.
Kaplan encouraged us to branch out into the Los Angeles business and philanthropic scene. He brought interns to nonprofit events, including the Anthony Barr Foundation Gala to benefit educational programs for children of single parents. Kaplan himself developed The Justice Ball and The Imagine Ball to benefit legal services for the underserved. I personally attended a cryptocurrency panel discussion with experts from the Ethereum Alliance and DNA Fund. At these events and through my research, I began to understand the power and potential of cryptocurrencies in the social entrepreneurship space. Young and dynamic product and technology innovators strive to make financial industries more accessible and adaptable to the masses, an exciting trend I’m interested in continuing to follow. Engaging opportunities within a new community was also a valuable suggestion of Royster-Lawton career advisors.
“Venture capital is a unique blend of financial and entrepreneurial skills. It’s exciting and empowering to watch a concept develop and grow from early stages. I know I want to have a hand in the growth of social enterprises.”
As a strong member within the Los Angeles community, Kaplan hosted guest speakers and lecturers weekly. We even had the chance to tour Snapchat’s headquarters and hear about the company’s vision from the Vice President of Technology. Hearing from elite entrepreneurs and business leaders helped me realized that I want to pursue a career in venture capital and more specifically impact investing. Especially transformative presentations were from Brian Lee, founder of Legal Zoom, Shoe Dazzle, and The Honest Company; Eric Manlunas of Wavemaker Partners; and John Ciasulli of Uptake. Venture capital is a unique blend of financial and entrepreneurial skills. It’s exciting and empowering to watch a concept develop and grow from early stages. I know I want to have a hand in the growth of social enterprises, and venture capital’s dual focus allows for a dynamic career with respect to learning more about innovative technologies, consumer products, and business development strategies. Thanks to the Royster-Lawton Fellowship, I feel confident about the trajectory of social entrepreneurship and my role in its future.
Spend your summer working towards an impact. Apply here!